The besties review
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I really do not see the hype...
Pacino brings such a palpable energy to his role, it’s a shame De Niro couldn’t do the same. And I’m not saying McCauley should’ve been coked up or anything; it just seems like the character could’ve used a lot more depth, especially when you have a guy like De Niro behind the wheel.
And I know it’s a crime epic, but this thing is just too long— two hours and ten minutes, or even two hours and twenty minutes would have sufficed. But at nearly three hours, I found this to be an exhausting watch. Nothing was bad per se (the relationship between McCauley and Eady was pretty drab and most of the supporting characters don’t have a lot to do), but the bottom line is the movie just wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be. It’s a decent cat-and-mouse movie, but it overstays its welcome just a touch. Highlight is Pacino, hands down.
“You’re a good actress, you know that? A good fucking actress.”
Sharon Stone slays and De Niro gives one of the best performances I’ve seen from him, but the plot is a bit generic and (no shock here) the runtime is nearly 45 minutes too long. Still, I enjoyed this a hell of a lot— it’s gritty, it’s glossy, it’s VEGAS BAYBAYYY!
A Bronx Tale
De Niro’s direction is much less stylish and more matter-of-fact than his longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese, but I actually appreciated the change-up. The highlights here are Chazz Palminteri and both actors who play Calogero. It’s not as slick as De Niro’s other gangster movies (and he’s not even a gangster in this one) but as an adaptation of Palminteri's play, I think this is a pretty successful film.
I’m just gonna come out and say it: this movie is overrated. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, but there’s nothing particularly exciting either. I like De Niro, Pesci seems to be doing his usual, and Ray Liotta's hyena laugh is (maybe purposefully) terrifying. But I don't know, it's just fine to me.
De Niro steals it. That’s the bottom line. Harvey Keitel is great, but young De Niro is really magnetic. And for once I actually cared about Scorsese’s characters, so that’s saying something too.
The big downfall for this one is that it just isn’t consistent. There were some moments where I was completely enthralled and others where I just couldn’t help but check my text messages or scroll through Facebook.
P.S. I loved the tiger 🐯 (or was it a lion...?)
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!
David Merkle rules.